It was just like an old-fashioned country get-together Sept. 7 as local councils, chamber of commerce members and residents gathered for the “Meet in the Millet” event.
Organized by the Wetaskiwin Chamber of Commerce, “Meet in the Millet” is intended as a regional luncheon. Those present included the city and County of Wetaskiwin, City and County of Leduc, Town of Millet, Town of Calmar and Town of Beaumont, all of which sent their greetings through representatives.
After lunch, the focus of the meeting was on Conservative Party MP Mike Lake’s presentation. Lake noted his riding Edmonton Wetaskiwin is population-wise the largest in Canada. “It’s a bit of a challenge to represent such a large riding,” stated Lake.
He noted he’s been hosting “round table” discussions with up to 16 people in areas around the riding to get feedback on what’s happening to residents. Lake noted he’ll be meeting with local councils soon.
The MP then discussed the top issues he’s heard in these round table meetings. The top one, stated Lake, has been pipelines. The feedback he’s hearing is that residents are frustrated about pipeline delays and cancellations; a more reliable process is needed for approving pipelines so investors have confidence in Canada and perhaps a change in leadership. “We need to change the regime,” said Lake.
The second issue has been free trade. Lake said constituents are quite frustrated with free trade talks with the U.S. The MP noted it’s a complicated issue, and any leader would be challenged to negotiate with President Donald Trump. Lake said negotiations are always about leverage and voters should remember Canada has a resource-based economy and prosperity comes from its natural resources.
The third issue is immigration/border security. Lake stated the current system is racking up hundreds of millions of dollars in costs. He also stated regular immigrants are the ones most affected by refugee claims.
The fourth issue is carbon tax, and has been mentioned regularly since the last election. Such a tax, noted Lake, hurts Canada if the U.S. doesn’t have one. Such a tax discourages investment, as dollars are spent in countries that don’t have it.
Fifth is the question of what new Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is like. Lake stated Scheer is a smart man, likable, sociable very fiscally minded and capable of building bridges as a small-c conservative.
Sixth has been budget deficits. Lake noted the current Liberal government now has about $18 billion in debt built up over just the past year, and the Liberal government has no idea how to pay it off.
Seventh has been rural crime. Lake said rural crime continues to be a serious problem, and point out some people are claiming crime has dropped but added that certain crime rates according to Stats Canada have dropped, and that stats are usually calculated on charges and especially convictions.
Eighth is the legalization of marijuana. The MP noted the issue seems to be surrounded by questions that no one in the Liberal government is answering. “It’s moving too quickly,” said Lake. He noted police still don’t have a reliable roadside test and there appears to be no serious education campaign either.
MLA Bruce Hinkley
Hinkley, NDP MLA for the Wetaskiwin Camrose constituency, brought greetings from the Government of Alberta. He also pointed out some recent events in and around Wetaskiwin, including a new assisted living facility, a reduction in vehicle thefts in the area and that Wetaskiwin-area is now below the national average in job losses.
Hinkley also stated Premier Rachel Notley continues to work hard on pipeline approvals for the people of Alberta.